Guidelines



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Sunday, July 31, 2011

CONGRESS, OR THE FOOLISH VIRGINS

by Ed Shacklee


The newest crop of innocents denied
That virtue could beget the sin of pride.
When they proved too slow to waken,
Many liberties were taken,
Enslaving them to vices they’d defied.
In brothels, let a madam be your guide.


Ed Shacklee
is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia.  His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 14 by 14, the Flea, the Raintown Review and Shot Glass Journal, among other places.
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TEA FOR US, PEE FOR YOU

by George Good


Now watch John Boehner balance on his dome
The Federal Budget weighing at least a ton.
Applause erupts from over on the right:
"We made him do it!  We have won the fight!"

Can you say Pyhrric victory?  This bill
In which you've slipped a poison pill
Is going down the drain untasted by
The Democrats who rather would go dry

Than drink the fermented piss you forced on them.
The prospects for a deal are looking grim--
Exactly what you hoped for as you call:
"We'll get our way though stocks and Heaven fall."


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Saturday, July 30, 2011

NOM DE GUERRE

by Steve Hellyard Swartz


The National Organization for Marriage held a rally at the New York State Capitol
in Albany on Sunday

So there they were and there was me

An unwelcome ant a-scurrying, seeing what he could see

On my way downtown, I passed some of the bums and knaves and glory grabs of history

I passed some of the more famous nom de guerres of recently

Iosev Jughashvili aka Joe Stalin
Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov aka Lenin
Josip Brodz aka Tito
Adolf Schiklgruber aka Hitler
Ernesto Guevara aka Che

It was a hot and breezy summer day

The National Organization for Marriage had set up a little table staffed by smiling women and hard-nosed men
The National Organization was handing out bumper stickers and redwhiteandblue pens

I took an informal poll and discovered, to my dismay. that a majority of the people protesting gay marriage were divorced or single, so for them at least the solid union thing has not been such a hit
On my NOM pen (the one I used to write this poem) their slogan reads:
Protecting Marriage and the Faith Communities That Sustain It

I walked around some more and took some pics with my Fuji one-time use
I posed for a snap with a lesbian couple and a church lady heaped me with abuse
Funny, cuz just a minute before when I'd told her I'd been married for 17 years she'd blessed me to Kingdom Come
But when she saw me with the lesbians she screamed that I was done
She asked me how many kids I had and I being an Honest kinda Abe admitted to my beautiful one
Then she shrieked some more, and as her God is my witness, she tiraded about my gonads,
my GONADS!, how weak and withered they must be (which wasn't fun, least not for me)

I milled about some more and discovered that the good folks of NOM share their very own NOM DE
GUERRE -
Mr and Mrs John Doe
Anonymously villifying anyone and anything that don't toe the line they toe
Mrs and Mr Doe, first name John
Peevish, Pessimistic, Pissed-Off Cons
Gaming, being gamed, up on almost nothing, dour, done for, sat upon


Steve Hellyard Swartz is Poet Laureate of Schenectady, NY. He is a frequent contributor to New Verse News. Swartz is a 2011 Pushcart Prize nominee for Poetry. His poems have appeared in The Patterson Review, The Southern Indiana Review, The Kennesaw Review, and online at Best Poem and switched-on gutenberg. He is the winner of a First Place Award given by the Society of Professional Journalists for Excellence in Broadcasting. In 1990, Never Leave Nevada, a movie he wrote and directed, opened at the US Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
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Friday, July 29, 2011

PAC-MAN

by Lauren Schmidt


“[Prosecutor Erik Hasselman] said the two, who shared a nearby apartment, apparently found Bishop sleeping beneath a tree, then kicked and beat him so severely that Bishop suffered twenty-three separate rib fractures and bleeding in his brain. His nose and an eye socket were also broken, and his ears were torn and bleeding, the prosecutor said.” --The Register Guard, December 23, 2009


The next morning, a group of Blues bent over me,
flashed light into my eyes, held two rubbered fingers to my neck.
It was morning when they found me in the park.
Sure don’t know what I could’ve looked like laying there—
blood glued to my lips and eyes, my face black from soot
and scab, smashed so I’m a mess that don’t look like me no more:
Pac-Man, a man nobody ever knew before.

Maybe the papers’ll say I was a good man, maybe even wise.
Maybe the papers’ll say everybody liked me.
The papers’ll tell the world I didn’t fight
back which only made them hit me harder.
I could feel my face change shape, like the Willamette riverbed.

I wish those boys’d cleaned me up before morning came.
Their hands were wet and clean when they came back
to take my things. One pinched my wrist and I shook
and twitched, but they didn’t stay. Such a shame to be left
like that—left a bloody mess like that—the way not having
a home feels like a shame till it doesn’t anymore.


Editor’s Note: This poem is part of a full-length collection of poetry based on the poet’s experience volunteering at a homeless kitchen, The Dining Room, in Eugene, Oregon, where several hate crimes occur each year against homeless men. The collection, Psalms of The Dining Room, is due out next year. The collection draws attention to an otherwise silenced problem: hate crimes against homeless victims.

Lauren Schmidt’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Progressive, Alaska Quarterly Review, New York Quarterly, Rattle, Nimrod, Fifth Wednesday Journal,  Ekphrasis Journal, Wicked Alice and other journals. Her poems have been selected as finalists for the 2008 and 2009 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and the Dancing Girl Press Chapbook Contest. Her awards include the So to Speak Poetry Prize and the Neil Postman Prize for Metaphor. In 2011, she was nominated for the Best New Poets Anthology. Her chapbook, The Voodoo Doll Parade (Main Street Rag), was selected as part of the 2011 Author’s Choice Chapbooks Series. Her second chapbook, Because Big Boobies Are Necessary (Amsterdam Press), and her first full-length collection, Psalms of The Dining Room (Wipf & Stock) are both forthcoming. Lauren Schmidt teaches writing at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

ZOMBIE-MASTER

by Bill Costley


“With no heart & no brain,
you will now run faster…”

Norquist hypnotizes
his zombies eviscerating
the ex-Republican Party:

“Only my will animates you!”


Bill Costley has served on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union. He lives in Santa Clara, CA.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

PAINTING THE DEBT CEILING

by David Feela


A compressor would be the quickest,
though the scaffolding required
to touch the ceiling
might make the Tower of Babel
look like a stairwell.

Give me one politician
with the vision of Michelangelo
and I will lie on my back
through the next election depicting
a brilliant fresco of the future.

Or left on my own, pass me
a roller and I’ll paint
the politician a face,
not just a position, one finger
in the face of heaven.

If nothing else, let me get started
with my brush, which takes forever
but surely not any longer
than finding this fabled
and convoluted compromise.


David Feela's work has appeared in hundreds of regional and national publications. His first full length poetry book, The Home Atlas, is now available.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DEBT-CRISIS ADMONITION TO PLEDGE SIGNERS

by William Aarnes


We thrive when regulations are relaxed;
Ventures with few loopholes are overtaxed.

Wealth’s purpose is to keep the wealthy wealthy;
To question that is fiscally unhealthy.

So paying debts by raising revenue
Is not the thing right thinking people do.

The only obligation we must honor
Is to ourselves.  Quibble and you’re a goner.


William Aarnes' poems have appeared previously at The New Verse News.  Other recent work has appeared in Red River Review, Curbside Quotidian, Prime Number, and Ascent.
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Monday, July 25, 2011

REPUBLICAN PLEDGES

by Lucille Gang Shulklapper


I pledge allegiance to Grover Norquist;  I promise not to turn or twist, but keep my rigid stance despite circumstance, and to all Republicans for whom he stands be true, one party, under God, divisible, without thought to me or you. Why should the rich pay a higher tax, when those on food stamps are lazy and lax?

I pledge allegiance to the Family Leader, that I will be a mother and breeder, oppose Sharia law, and same-sex marriage, I’ll abhor.  I will stand for each civil right, as they once had in perfect sight, when parents in slavery weren’t sold, and their children and families together grew old.  Why should I suffer with a terrible migraine, when others can suffer in much more pain?

I pledge allegiance to Susan B. Anthony and the unborn, incest or rape’s not as bad as porn, a woman’s body is mine to control, just don’t put her on my dole; my religion and my faith come before any governmental lore, or law already on the books, why shouldn’t the Robert’s  Court take second looks?

I pledge allegiance to Obama’s defeat, to forget the hungry, the cop on the beat. I pledge allegiance to Tea Party banter, debt ceiling lip syncs by Ryan, Walsh, and Cantor. I pledge allegiance to America’s default. “The sun will come up tomorrow” our proposed assault.


The work of Lucille Gang Shulklapper, an author of poetry and fiction, appears in many journals and four chapbooks.  Recent work will appear in Main Street Rag's anthology "Altered States.” A picture book has been accepted for publication.
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

MY FELLOW AMERICAN




Editor's Note: In light of the events in Norway where, we know now, the Oslo Suspect Wrote of Fear of Islam and Plan for War, it seems appropriate to highlight this video from the Web site My Fellow American, whose spokesperson Elizabeth Potter explains, "America has always been a melting pot, but in the post-9/11 world the environment can be downright hostile. Recent mosque protests and congressional hearings on American Muslims are all unfortunate examples of a rising tide of fear. This climate of suspicion towards our fellow Americans compromises the great values that our country was founded upon."
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

WHAT COMES

by David Chorlton

               When you live close to nature, you take what comes.
                              Tom Beatty, Miller Canyon, Arizona


It might be a Lucifer hummingbird
whose gorget shines magenta
against apples ripening
on trees in August’s orchard
that you see, or else

a family from Oaxaca
who made it this far and chose the wild
canyon after crossing over
and who stop
when you encounter them,
frightened as the ocelot

a dog treed here in spring.
If you look the other way
to let them pass
you’ll notice how the cliff wall
seems to hang
between the sky and the oaks

while at the saddle
between two peaks
aspens are absorbed by clouds
one day and by smoke
on another. When what comes

is fire, it is never in the forecast.
It just begins
and strips
a mountain to the bone.
When you live where the border
between good weather and bad

is harder to cross
than the one between countries,
it might be the black flood you hear
washing away the thrush’s call
and taking back
everything the golden days

delivered. What comes is yours
to keep; as much a part of you
as the shiver in the blade
is of the axe.


David Chorlton has lived in Arizona since 1978, when he moved from Vienna, Austria. While much of his poetry is about the Southwestern landscape, his newest publication, and first work of fiction, is The Taste of Fog from Rain Mountain Press, reflecting a darker side of Vienna.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

A FREUD OF THE FLESH

by James Penha


No one painted
flesh
like Lucien Freud:


I  work
up an impasto
rich
with assurance
mold it to forms—
I do it urgently;
I do it
boldly—
I do
make the body
mine
as once you gave
grandfather
a piece of your mind.

Dreams beg for interpretation;
I want
sinew.

I wish portraits
of people
not like people;

the people
is paint.


James Penha edits The New Verse News
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

BATS

by Bill Costley


Obama flexes his
soft verbal nerf bat,
Boehner polishes his
dented aluminum bat,
Cantor shoulders his
Adirondack ash bat
& walks. The crowd
groans in the stands.
Who's willing to kick
cans down the road?
The Gang of Six swings wide.


Bill Costley has served on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union. He lives in Santa Clara, CA.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

POPE ACCEPTS ARCHBISHOP OF PHILADELPHIA'S RESIGNATION

or 
A SLIGHT MISREADING OF MARK 10:14
by Ed Shacklee


The Lord suffered children to come to him,
but his priest made the boy give his bum to him;
and the Pope was his shield and his buffer
as he came so the children would suffer.


Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia.  His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 14 by 14, the Flea, the Raintown Review and Shot Glass Journal, among other places.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

UNDER THE BLOWS

by Lauren Schmidt


Fifty-six-year-old Herbert Bishop, who did not have a permanent address, was known on the streets as ‘Pac-Man.’ An autopsy determined yesterday that Bishop died as a result of blunt force trauma---The Oregonion, May 13th, 2009


When you suffer the first punch,
the prayer you hope others say for you

dips its ladle into your marrow,
pulls it up, your adrenaline stirred.

Before your death’s official, though, you look
for a direction, hang your memories

on the rungs of your life’s upward. But there
are two of them— you are all alone— and defeat

descends in your bones like tree rings.
Blow after blow, you lower to your knees,

remember your Genesis, the man before the fall,
you name your every wrong. As you imagine

the dimensions of paradise, you weep for the milk
of your mother’s breast.

After the boys have left you, you bow your head,
search your blood for a way to put it back,

a connoisseur of wounds. Your features wane at dawn
beneath the breath of a kitten sniffing you,

a comfort like the sheet the police are ready
to pull over you. The last sounds you ever hear

are a bell, the flash of a camera,
and a stranger mispronounce your name.


Editor’s Note: This poem is part of a full-length collection of poetry based on the poet’s experience volunteering at a homeless kitchen, The Dining Room, in Eugene, Oregon, where several hate crimes occur each year against homeless men. The collection, Psalms of The Dining Room, is due out next year. The collection draws attention to an otherwise silenced problem: hate crimes against homeless victims.

Lauren Schmidt’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Progressive, Alaska Quarterly Review, New York Quarterly, Rattle, Nimrod, Fifth Wednesday Journal,  Ekphrasis Journal, Wicked Alice and other journals. Her poems have been selected as finalists for the 2008 and 2009 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and the Dancing Girl Press Chapbook Contest. Her awards include the So to Speak Poetry Prize and the Neil Postman Prize for Metaphor. In 2011, she was nominated for the Best New Poets Anthology. Her chapbook, The Voodoo Doll Parade (Main Street Rag), was selected as part of the 2011 Author’s Choice Chapbooks Series. Her second chapbook, Because Big Boobies Are Necessary (Amsterdam Press), and her first full-length collection, Psalms of The Dining Room (Wipf & Stock) are both forthcoming. Lauren Schmidt teaches writing at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

THE PRICE OF FREEDOM

by Gail Eisenhart

            “If we learn patience…God solves things  …learn to wait.” Thomas Merton

The Warden says, “It’s a big day; you’ll adjust slowly,
wake tomorrow at 5 a.m., ready for the count.” She nods.
For 32 years she languished, maintaining her innocence.
Released now, she’s on a mission to thank her two
great influences . . . God and a deceased prison guard.

A short distance away in a small church, candles burn
in the alcove for her cause.  She enters and kneels, weary
head bowed over hands clasped to calm their shaking.
The absence of shackles surprises her.  Overwhelmed
by freedom, a thousand butterflies flutter in her chest.

In a tiny cemetery hidden behind the hill, she trudges
to the grave of the humble guard who befriended her,
kept the path level with compassion and her love of God.
Trembling, she places daisies near the stone marker.
The air seems different here: clear, full of possibilities.

She returns to the church for a Communion service,
then stands outside the weathered doors and confesses
she’s learned a lot—mostly patience.  “Things happen,”
she says, “in God’s time, not man’s time.  When I finally
learned that lesson, I was released from bondage.”

Her daughter waits patiently, clasps thirty-two strings
in her fist—each tied to a year of her mother’s life
behind iron bars.  “Let them go,” the woman says.
Thirty two balloons disappear into the sky.  She climbs
into the rusted old car without looking back.


Editor’s note: The poem is based on real events.

Gail Eisenhart’s poems have been published recently in Mid Rivers Review, CANTOS, Front Range, Jet Fuel Review, New Mirage Journal, Barely South Review and in Flood Stage: an anthology of St. Louis Poets.  She works part time at the Belleville (IL) Public Library and travels in her spare time, collecting memories that show up in new poems. 

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

THAT'S WHY THEY'RE CALLED THE BOYS OF SUMMER

by Wayne Scheer


Baseball isn't Hollywood
Where aging stars remain
Clint Eastwood tough
Harrison Ford rugged
Cary Grant suave.

No.  In the world of baseball
You can't fool Mother Nature,
No matter how much you work out
Or how many steroids you inject.
Alex Rodriguez's bad knee will end his streak
Of thirteen seasons with thirty or more
Homeruns and one hundred or more
Runs batted in.
Just a couple years ago, he had
An operation on his hip
At the start of the season
And still managed to keep the streak alive.
But now he's mid-thirties,
Ancient for dogs and athletes.

His teammate, Derek Jeter,
Just past the 3000th hit mark.
His reward?  When the hoopla dies down
He'll probably be dropped
From lead off to the inglorious
Eighth spot in the order.

Clint Eastwood can still
Scare kids off his lawn
By narrowing his eyes,
But sluggers who no longer slug
Don't scare anyone,
Least of all a twenty-three year-old pitcher
With a mid-nineties fastball.

There's a lessen in this for all of us,
But I'd rather not contemplate it right now.


Wayne Scheer has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net.  He's published hundreds of short stories, essays and poems, including Revealing Moments, a collection of flash stories, published by Thumbscrews Press.  A film adaptation of his short story, "Zen and the Art of House Painting," can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/18491827.   Wayne lives in Atlanta with his wife and can be contacted at wvscheer(at)aol.com.
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

VOICES FROM THE BASEMENT

by Howie Good


Juries acquit mothers
who have murdered their children.

There are frequent dances at what used to be
Potter’s Field and the gallows place.

Everything else that happens
will happen mostly after midnight.

Men without firsthand experience of hell
but with large round eyes

claim they can taste sun in the wine.


Howie Good's latest chapbook is Threatening Weather from Whale Sounds.
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Friday, July 15, 2011

BASTILLE DAY

by David Plumb


I drive into the VA clinic
parking lot at 8.43 a.m.
just as WTMI radio announces
Bastille Day, time for the Marseillaise
I whip around the lot four times
squeeze into my parking spot.
and the glory that was France
fills my small car.

I slip the car in Park and pump my arms
singing what little French I know.
I’m marching past the Arc de Triomphe
when in the left corner of my front
windshield I spot a blue pickup
with the words Blue Angel hooked
to the top of the front license plate.

A chiseled seventy plus cowboy
with straw hat and sunglasses sits in the cab
holding a long plastic tube
and I stop marching in my car.

This cowboy shoves the tube down his tracheotomy
with the gauze around the metal
jams the tube past his gone larynx
sucking up phlegm and snot.
His head lurches.  He gags.
He wretches.  He sucks up
war, cigarettes and time.

The Marseillaise breathes victory all around.
This whole pass in review marches by.
The sun beats on, the cowboy
puts his tube away and wipes his chin.
I turn off the radio.
We turn off our ignitions
and get out to stand
in line again.


David Plumb’s latest fiction book is A Slight Change in the Weather. He has worked as a paramedic, a cab driver, a, cook and tour guide. A long time San Francisco writer, he now lives in South Florida . Will Rogers said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” Plumb says, “It depends on the parrot.”
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

THE MUSLIM WOMEN OF BOSNIA PROTEST

by Lee Ann Pingel


[Jolie’s film] caused controversy in Bosnia with some female victims of sexual violence objecting to details in the plot and Bosnian authorities canceling a filming permit. —Reuters, 17 May 2011


Angelina, you cannot take our stories.
Angelina, you do not speak for us.
The world years since has closed this book,
but still the pages flutter open
as our eyes drift shut each night.

Angelina, they raped us until we could not sit, or stand, or walk.
Until we barely knew our names.
They raped our daughters, mothers, grandmothers…
until we had no begging left in us.
They raped us into exile. Raped us to death.
Not one of us fell in love with our defiler.
Angelina, your movie does not speak for us.

Angelina, you cannot take our stories.
Our torturers planted enemies in our wombs,
whispered that their babies one day would kill us.
But we filled orphanages with any babe born breathing.
Perhaps, Angelina, you can take one of them.


Lee Ann Pingel has lived in the Athens, Georgia, area since 1994 and serves as the distance-learning editor for the University of Georgia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from UC San Diego and holds graduate degrees in political science and religion from UGA. After many years of dithering and distraction, she has recently returned in earnest to writing poetry. Her poems have appeared in Motif 2: Come What May, an anthology of writings about chance from Motes Books, in Contemporary Haibun Online, and in Staccato, a journal of flash fiction.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DROUGHT

by Penelope Scambly Schott

                         on the news from Somalia

The baskets of the rain have refused to empty.
Crops shrivel.

For weeks now
she has trekked barefoot over baked dirt.

There is no stalk drier
than an unplanned journey.

Her three children
throw thin shadows in size order.

Last night, beneath an acacia tree,
she gave birth again.

No food or water since.
She owns one piece of cloth

and she is wearing it.
She must leave that baby unwrapped

in the shade of the acacia.  It will open its eyes
to wait for the hyenas.


Penelope Scambly Schott is the author of five chapbooks and eight full-length books of poetry.  Her verse biography A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth received the 2008 Oregon Book Award for Poetry.  Her newest book, Crow Mercies, was awarded the Sarah Lantz Memorial Award from Calyx Press.  Penelope lives in Portland and teaches an annual poetry workshop in Dufur, Oregon.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

FRENCH NEWS IN BELGIUM

by Caitlin Krause


Here in Belgium, televisions show French news
because it has more accurate weather,
compelling sports, and the lurid appeal
of political scandals that put soaps to shame.
It’s Cannes, the Tour de France and DSK
all in one.  Across a dinner table, a Belgian
asks, Would you vote for him for president?
I want to know the opinion of a woman,
he says, adding, and what do you think of his
wife, standing right by his side?  I ask him,
What do you think of the Belgian stand-still
for the past year and a half?  What do you think
of the lack of a government?
  Helpless,
he can only smile at the ridiculousness
of it all.  Would I even vote for anyone?
I’d sooner play Anne Sinclair each night,
toasting release from recent house arrest,
crafting my latest statement for the public,
flashing my grin all the way to my perfumed pillow…
Does the opinion of a woman set itself apart,
or is there a code that renders all opinions moot?
Natural law once had a name, before charades
made the daily French news far too titillating.


Caitlin Krause is an American writer living in Brussels, Belgium, where she teaches English at an international school.  She has a deep interest in ethics, society and social (lack of) conscience.  She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from Lesley University, and she continues to publish prose and poetry.  She enjoys running, photography, dark chocolate, and the daily rainstorm.
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Monday, July 11, 2011

THE ELEPHANT IS A FAT CAT

by Ed Shacklee


It’s amusing to balance the budget:
While common sense plans seldom pass,
There’s always some way you can fudge it,
Or drop it; it’s fragile as glass.

Let it go pear-shaped, the headlines
Scream panics and slumps — innuendos
Your granny will soon be in breadlines,
And bankers will jump from the windows

Like a biblical cloudburst of frogs;
But the fat will remain on the cats,
For whenever we’ve gone to the dogs,
The first to return are the rats.


Ed Shacklee
is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia.  His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 14 by 14, the Flea, The Raintown Review and Shot Glass Journal, among other places.
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

YOU KEEP LETTING THEM GET AWAY WITH MURDER

by Bill Maher



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Saturday, July 09, 2011

ORPHIC

by Catherine McGuire


If, in this world, toxins were visible:
chartreuse streaks as bisphenol broke free

of hard plastic, aqua shoals of RoundUp
swimming the sultry air, towards you;

if hot pink cesium glittered as you drew breath
or swirled in glyphs through garden soil

near ashen gray ribbons of lead;
if your skin lit up with a rainbow of poisons

and polyacrylic fumes danced like diamond gnats;
if smile-packaged word daggers flashed

a dire green like tracer fire – clear, unambiguous –
if dangers were uncamouflaged

and you knew the odds,
would you still shape the day into a lyric,

threading these new colors into the old patterns,
spellbound and singing, composing a new myth,

risking all in one bravado sprint,
accepting the perilous bargain – would you still

attempt the daily audacity
of outwitting Death?


Catherine McGuire is a writer and artist with a deep interest in philosophy, the “Why we are here?” question that lurks under so much of our lives. She will have a chapbook released by Uttered Chaos in September. It is tentatively titled, Reflections, Echoes and Palimpsests. She is webmaster for the Oregon Poetry Society and claims her entire garden as her 'poetry office'.
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Thursday, July 07, 2011

SAND IS FOR MEMBERS

by Helen Tzagoloff
                              
   If democracy is to prevail, public good must prevail over
   private interests. The question is: would the majority of people be
  happier with a public waterfront on the Long Island Sound or not?
    --Enrique Peñalosa, The New York Times Magazine, June 8, 2008
 
NO TRESPASSING Private Beach to Water’s Edge
--Sign in Destin, FL, The New York Times, December 3, 2009

Olga and Anna, my mother’s friends,
came by train to visit us on Long Island
where we rented a room for two weeks
in the house of a friend of a friend.

Good day for a visit. Our landlord had
gone away on business. My mother and I
made cheese blintzes and roasted a chicken.
Olga and Anna brought smoked herring,
dark pumpernickel, Belgian chocolates.

After lunch Olga and Anna wanted to walk
to the beach, see the ocean. Not to swim,
just walk barefoot on the sand. Nobody
on the beach, except for a man in a booth.
“Are you members?” he asked.
“This is a private beach.” Our landlord
had been driving us to a much larger
noisy, crowded beach with concessions.

“Can the shoreline be private?” I asked.
“Yes, it can be and is.” Nobody is here,”
I pleaded. “Our visitors have not seen
the ocean  since they fled their war-
torn country.” He’ll be fired if he lets us
walk on the sand. (If we jumped over the sand
into the water, we could swim? I wanted to ask.)

I convinced the guard to let us approach water,
not barefoot, but with our shoes on --
he said it would take too long to take them off.
I quickly took a picture of Olga and Anna,
then another with my mother joining them,
the ocean sunlit and foaming behind them.

My mother and I were upset, but Olga and Anna
said they were happy – they had seen the ocean.
As proof, there will be a framed photo on the bureau.


Helen Tzagoloff's poems and prose have been published recently in Barrow Street, Wild Violet, and Stranger at Home Anthology: Interpoezia. Her book of poems Listening to the Thunder is to be published by Oliver Arts and Open Press.
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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

CLOSE ONLY COUNTS WHEN IT INVOLVES NANCY GRACE

by J. Bradley


In a town full of armchair quarterbacks,
it is easy to catch sand-filled water bottles
with your face. They call it “Dante’s
Ring Toss.”

When I am the mayor, everyone
must wear stockade charm necklaces
once a week, diet on rotting tomatoes
for basketball tickets.

Ask yourself if you could survive
a growing tower of rings and bruises.
Break your own wrists while you still can.


J. Bradley is the author of Bodies Made of Smoke (Housefire, 2011).
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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

THIS DRONE

by Tom Karlson


can not sting
nor gather pollen
like that other free flier
has no ovipositor,
can not lay eggs,
will not keep the hive in order
this drone will join with 200 brothers
all looking for a queen to mate
a one minute fly-by-and-die
to father the new hive…
that fertilize crops
and sweetens our lives

the other drone stings
is not an onomatopoeia
it searches
not for mates
but for un-Americans
an airborne judge, jury, and hangman
predator
enemy producer
a collateral damage inducer
widow taker
orphan maker
a one minute fly-by-and-die
to destroy the new hive…
waging class war
keeping profits high


Tom Karlson is founder of Poets for Peace, Long Island, NY.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR SANCTIMONIOUS MORONS

 Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote

 
All religions profess commonplace values
Merciful kindness embracing each other
Teaching brotherly love not enmity
Non-violent advocates disengaging hateful fear

Toleration is most ardent devotion
Insightful understanding the truthful consequence
Of compassionate humanity begging pardon
Practicing flexibility charity humility magnanimity

True love requires infinite patience
Faking sincerity for heretical beliefs
Practices habits customs folkways mores
High-spirited multiversity expressing opinions freely

One’s enemy is the best
Teacher enlightened by radically different
Ways of looking at distorted
Perspectives dissimilar from our own

Celebrating individual differences without necessarily
Accepting bent curve time warps
Macrocosmic vision seeking kindlier gentler
Belonging to one humanure race

Knowledge of values not facts
To do the right thing
When it should be done
Regardlessly like it or not


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote together comprise PoeArtry. Flutter Press has just published Charles’ new chapbook fanTHAIsies.
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Saturday, July 02, 2011

UNFINISHED

by Linda Lerner

“Flight delays as JFK airport runway (is) taken over by turtles!”
                          New York Daily News June 29, 2011

this is about dozens of turtles
a mid eastern restaurant we sat in on Atlantic Avenue
                hungry and broke
turtles crawling onto the tarmac at JFK
delaying flights for over an hour
this is about watching you slowly bite off
a piece of lamb from a skewer as
you watched me do the same  and we
inched our way thru couscous into baklava
            past closing time
turtles crawling toward the grassy marshlands
on the other side of the runway to lay their eggs
this is about wondering what it feels like
                to be a turtle...
we never looked  at the bill
we kept on eating   the waiters kept looking at their watches
air traffic controllers threw up their hands in frustration
people sat in planes waiting for the turtles to get across
nobody asked  what they do once their eggs were laid
            where they’ll go

this is  about love sick turtles
It is about a meal we never finished


Linda Lerner's Takes Guts and Years Sometimes (New & Selected Poems) has just been published by New York Quarterly Press.
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Friday, July 01, 2011

WALLS

by Daniel Wilcox



“Baghdad is a huge camp, man. American didn’t bring democracy. It brought walls.” 
Yousif al-Timimi in National Geographic July 2011


There’s something in man, uh human
That loves a wall…
Jerusalem
China
Hadrian
Mellah
Venice
Pale
Richmond...well,
An upside-down
Walled trench;
Speaking of
‘Somme’
Others…
Warsaw
Berlin
Panmunjom
Ben Hai...a river wall,
Selma
Belfast
Kashmir
Baghdad
Gaza
Yuma…ah finally a rime,
‘Add’ nauseam
And
Two kinds of mortars
Bricks ‘unmortified’
Mortgaging tomorrow for yesterday;
Good ‘fencing’, uh yes…


Daniel Wilcox’s writing has appeared in many magazines including The Danforth Review, The Write Room, and The Copperfield Review. His book Dark Energy was published by Diminuendo Press. Before that he hiked through Cal State University Long Beach (Creative Writing), Montana, Pennsylvania, Europe, Palestine/Israel, and Arizona. He lives with his wife on the central coast of California.
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